Byron Rail Bridge

Through Truss Bridge over Rock River
Byron, Ogle County, Illinois

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Byron Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor (EB Span) Chicago Bridge & Iron Company of Chicago, IL
Contractor (WB Span) Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian Pacific Railway
Length 830 Feet Total, 170 Foot Largest Span
Width (Each Span) 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Type (EB Span) Pratt Through Truss
Type (WB Span) Warren Through Truss
Date Built (EB Span) 1905
Date Built (WB Span) 1910
Traffic Count 5 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use, EB Span Abandoned
MILW Bridge Number Z-312
In 1861, the Northern Illinois Railroad began construction of a line that would run from Savanna, Illinois to Racine, Wisconsin, including a segment from Lannark to Kittredge, in Illinois.

In 1862, the line would be extended again to Savanna, on the Mississippi River.
The line would beconme part of the Western Union Railroad in 1865.

In 1875, the Chicago and Pacific Railroad would begin building west from Halsted Street in Chicago, and reach Byron, Illinois; seated on the Rock River.

By 1880, with the lines becoming heavily profitable the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway took over the lines, although allowing the railroads to operate as subsidiaries.

Also in 1880, the lines would be connected. A new piece of track connected Byron and Kittredge.
In addition, the railroad built a new bridge across the Mississippi River at Sabula, Iowa to connect to the empire in Iowa.

The railroads became fully owned by the Milwaukee Road in 1900, and double track work commenced from Chicago that year, and made it as far as Sabula by late 1905.
The railroad became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific in 1913, as the pacific expansion began to near completion.

The line became one of the most important for the Milwaukee Road, connecting Chicago to Elgin, Byron and Savannah. In addition, the line connected to Council Bluffs in Iowa, making a regional connection.

While much of the line is still intact, a part from Goose Island to Halsted Avenue in Chicago was removed in the 1970s.
Also in Chicago, the line from Ashland Avenue (near the Kennedy Expressway) to a junction with the main line to Saint Paul near Monticello Avenue became a trail in 2015, after abandonedment years later.

The Milwaukee Road disolved in 1985, merging with Soo Line, and eventually Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Canadian Pacific in turn sold the line to I&M Rail Link in 1997, which became the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern in 2002, and Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railway later that year.

The DM&E was purchased by Canadian Pacific in late 2008. The line is known as the Chicago Subdivision, and sees a fair traffic base.

This bridge may be one of the most unique in Northern Illinois.

The bridge has an unusual construction to accomodate a double track mainline, built at two different times.

The line was originally located downstream, and contained several pin connected trusses built in 1882. The line was relocated in 1897, and the Westbound spans were built.

These spans were replaced in 1910 by an experimental type of bridge, which still exists.

The spans are all skewed, 8 panel riveted warren through trusses with light bracings. The design may be some of the first of modern railroad trusses.
They are supported by stone substructures. The spans are of the following lengths, from west to east:
170 Feet, 160 Feet, 165 Feet, 165 Feet and 160 Feet.

The other spans were added when the bridge was widened in 1905, for a double track expansion.
Each of those spans are 6 panel, skewed, pin connected pratt through trusses with an X style portal bracing.
The spans are supported on concrete substructures, and contain the following lengths, from west to east:
155 Feet, 165 Feet, 160 Feet, 160 Feet and 160 Feet.

The differences in span length stem from the bridge having been built at a heavy skew.

Today, the bridge can be accessed from the west with permission from local landowners, and from the east using a cemetery and foot trails.

The photo above is an overview. The 1905 spans are in front, and piers from the old bridges in front of that.
Almost all of the overview photos will feature the EB spans in front, unless noted.
The photo below is details of the portal of the 1905 span.

Rock River Railroad Bridges

Upstream CN Rock River Bridge
Downstream DM&E Rock River Bridge

These Pictures Start at varying points in the Series, for the Pictures taken by others
Detail Photos from March, 2015

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